September 26, 2017 By Jerry Mulenburg

Are Men and Women Really Different?

I know that sounds like a silly question—but then why do we spend millions of dollars on research and write dozens of books every year on that very subject? I learned there was a difference between boys and girls when I was 4 or 5 years old and my mother scolded me for trying to look under a little girl’s skirt. I didn’t yet know what the difference was, and it didn’t affect me until much later.

Growing up, I had lots of friends who were girls. When starting a dirt-lot softball game and choosing sides, it made no difference if a player was a girl or a boy. Some of our best players were girls. It only mattered how good they could hit, catch, and run. And when it came to telling dirty stories, the girls won hands down.

My awakening to the differences between us arrived when I returned to school after summer vacation between the sixth and seventh grades. The other boys and I noticed that the girls looked significantly different from the previous school year. Their bodies were much rounder, with curves and bumps impossible not to notice. I didn’t even recognize our best girl softball player, who came to school in a skirt and blouse with her hair combed. I had never seen her in anything but jeans or shorts, a tee shirt, and a ponytail.

Though they looked different, the girls didn’t act a lot different—at least not at first. We boys looked about the same as before, but there seemed to be a noticeable odor about us.

By high school, though, a whole new environment existed between us. During those four years, my impression of girls was one of awe. I thought girls always smelled sweet, never sweated or passed gas, and never had bad breath. When the boys’ growth spurts began, it allowed us to catch up to the girls physically, if not mentally, and the relationships between us changed dramatically.

Fast-forward many years to when our two daughters began to play baseball, soccer, field hockey, and other sports. After a hard soccer practice following a long day at school, my younger assessment of girls was turned on its head. When my two sweet girls removed their dirty cleats, damp socks, smelly shin-guards, soaked jerseys, and with dripping hair climbed into the car for the ride home, the atmosphere was more than ripe. And this was despite my having placed all of their gear in the trunk! But after a shower when my two darlings were clean and ready for bed, they smelled just as sweet as my memories of the girls in my high school classes.

I don’t need a book or a research report to tell me the differences between the sexes—I’m just thankful they exist!


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